(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)
In unprecedented times such as these, is there really only one kind of movie you can turn to? One that can offer you an escape, tap into your rage, or quench your thirst? Probably not, but you can achieve at least one of these with this week’s batch of foreign-language films in Pop Culture Imports. This week we have French-Israeli festival darling Synonyms, the Mexican coming-of age gem I’m No Longer Here, the Jackie Chan martial arts comedy classic Police Story, Mamoru Hosoda’s whimsical time travel anime Mirai, and the sexy riff on Alfred Hitchcok’s Notorious, Lust, Caution.
Fire up those subtitles, and let’s get streaming.
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Today I finally found some time to sit down and sift through the 352 official selections of the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. Many hours later, I present to you 65 must see movies at the Toronto International Film Festival. I did the work so that you don’t have to. So why should you care about these films if you’re not making the trip up to Canada in September?
In 1998, Variety acknowledged that the Toronto International Film Festival “is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” Roger Ebert has also said that “although Cannes is still larger, Toronto is more useful and more importantâ€¦.”
Toronto is essentially a preview of which Independent to mid-sized film releases might be big in the next five months. The festival is considered a launch pad for many studios to begin “Oscar-buzz” for their films.
How do I know that you should see these movies? Well, in most cases I don’t. I have seen some press screenings of a couple of the films listed below (Valley of Elah, My Kid Could Paint That…) and can personally recommend them. But for the most part, I have no idea. I have cobbled this list from an exhaustive day of research. Some of the films I chose because of the director, writer, or cast. Others because of the plot synopsis.
When a review was available, I read it. If a trailer was available, I watched it. I’ve included films that were recommended to me by trusted friends. Some films that I missed but were highly reviewed at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (Son of Rambow, The Savages).
I must offer this disclaimer: I tend to be attracted to American, British and Japanese cinema to a fault. I do have a handful of picks outside my comfort realm, but if you’re looking for more “Worldly” selections, you might have to look elsewhere.
It should also be noted that some of the films (especially in the Gala and special presentation sections) will hit theaters within the next two months. Some films even hit theaters days within the festival’s conclusion. I put these movies on the list because they are movies of interest. But you, like me, might want to hold off on some of these flicks until they hit your city next month. For me, there are some films that I won’t be able to resist like Across The Universe and No Country for Old Men. I know they come out sooner rather than later, but I need to see them sooner. I’ve noted the release dates of films that are opening in the next two months, just so you have that information.
I’ll be at the festival for nine and a half days, so chances are, I won’t be able to see all of these films. The reality is, I won’t see even half of these films. I’ll be doing some interviews, so I’ve lowered my goal to around 30 movies, which most people would still consider extreme (that’s at least three movies each day of the festival).
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Check out the movie trailer for Ang Lee’s (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) new film. Adapted from Eileen Chang’s short story by Lee’s Crouching Tiger screenwriter Wang Hui-Ling, Lust, Caution follows a powerful political figure (Tony Leung) in World War II-era Shanghai who enters into a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with an young woman (Tang Wei). Looks very much like some of the war-era films from the 1950s. The film is set to hit theaters in the US on September 28th. Check out the trailer after the jump.
Update: Focus Features has asked that we remove the trailer from /Film because it “was illegally leaked from the studio”. We have removed the trailer at their request..